Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Bingo Hell, or: Bingo Is Other People

Apocalyptic events caused by aliens, bingo nights that involve the loss of one’s soul…par for the course in B horror land. However, it may not bode well when a major horror studio attempts to make a formula of B films somewhat halfheartedly. All I’m saying is this film would struggle to compete in terms of action and thrills when compared with an actual night of bingo.

The Film:

Bingo Hell


Gigi Saul Guerrero

The Premise:

Following the opening of a new neighborhood bingo hall, the residents of a community begin to realize there are extra strings attached to the games.

The Ramble:

In a tight-knit neighborhood, busybody Lupita’s guard is up when she hears car enthusiast Mario has missed an appointment for one of his beloved vehicles. She may be onto something, as the nature of Mario’s disappearance is much more disturbing (and green ooze-filled) than expected.

Lupita is tough as nails, a proper neighborhood matriarch. From her son’s struggles with addiction to her husband’s recent death–no to mention those damn hipsters–Lupita has a lot to be angry about. She usually ends up being right, though her bluntness has caused rifts in some friendships.

Noticing a flashy car hanging around and flyers promoting a neon-lit new bingo hall (previously owned by Mario), Lupita’s feathers are further ruffled. Confronting the new owner’s attempts at gentrification, Lupita’s plan to present a united front backfires when Mr. Big (seriously) can offer to make the bingo players’ dreams come true.

Even as things get twisted in a monkey’s paw kind of way, more and more bingo players return to make a deal with the sketchy owner/manager. After Lupita uncovers the truth about Mario’s disappearance, she decides one final confrontation is in order. But who will call bingo first?

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

Talk about a shaky house built on shaky foundations. The plot is flimsy, and the silly B-movie title and premise don’t even try to live up to the levels of schlock we should get. This feels at best like an episode of Goosebumps, at worst an after school special about the evils of gentrification. Which, by the way, Lupita seems to backtrack on & take away the message that you should just give up and move as long as your community leaves with you?

Most disappointing and glaringly obvious to me is the lack of a compelling, menacing, or even just over-the-top villain. Mr. Big is super boring, and I still don’t understand at all what he was doing and why. It was implied he was running some kind of deal with the devil, but was he the devil? Was he working for the devil? Are there not less convoluted ways to harvest souls?!?!

Lupita was cool as hell, but fairly one-note. Spoiler if you care–when she learns of her son’s death, the film gives her about 10 seconds to process this. Effectively, it feels like she has no emotional reaction whatsoever to this news.

I will say the quality of the set design and acting is above average for a B horror. And I do appreciate that the definition of community in the movie is essentially fist fighting a demon together. However, we don’t get enough demons, enough Lupita badassery, or even enough bingo when all is said and done.

As I have to remind myself frequently, they can’t all be Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark.

Would my blog wife gamble her soul away with this one or leave it to deteriorate into green goo? Read her review to find out!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

2025 Armageddon, or: Snakes on a Train on a Mega 6-Headed Sharktopus

*Spoilers follow*

I’m genuinely curious if anyone encounters this blog, notes the spoiler warning, and decides to keep scrolling. Not today, universe–spoilers about 2025 Armageddon takes things a step too far.

I may never know.

Following an eventful beginning…okay, full half of 2023, we’re working on getting back on track with the Blog Collab through our bread and butter: B horror. It may end up as a B horror summer, and I’m perfectly happy with this. Long may giant prehistoric sharks fight equally large mechanical sharks for the sake of humanity’s survival.

The Film:

2025 Armageddon


Michael Su

The Premise:

As B horror creatures are unleashed on the Earth, bickering sisters must unite to determine why these film monsters have emerged…and how they can be stopped.

The Ramble:

Though they were the best of friends growing up, sisters Madolyn and Quinn Ramsey have since drifted apart. While Madolyn is a tough naval officer, Quinn is a sort of vaguely defined important person at NASA. The pressure must be pretty high when your dad is…the Vice President? A Very Important and High-Ranking Government Official, at any rate.

Madolyn is faced with her most dire situation yet when her ship unexpectedly encounters a quick moving creature that is impervious to missile attacks. The creature is none other than a giant piranha that soon begins chomping quite effectively through the ship’s hull.

Meanwhile, Quinn is debriefing her dad on the situation, while FCC employees Aaron and Gretchen puzzle through some odd data. While Aaron is a huge fan of The Asylum, Gretchen suspects some fraudulent goings-on are reflected in a sudden spike in viewership ratings. …Or could there be a more…armageddonous explanation?

Worryingly, the piranha isn’t the last of the strange creatures; a giant crocodile emerges, laser-equipped robots appear, and snakes on a train create problems. As Thomas Ramsey is sworn in officially and evacuated to safety, he and Quinn encounter one of the deadly robots. Luckily, Madolyn has lived to fight another day, having commandeered one of the robots to stave off the attack.

As the sisters struggle to put aside their differences, superfan Aaron begins to connect the creatures to Asylum movies. But what does it all mean? And is it aliens? (It’s aliens.)

Uncovering the truth will be meaningless unless Madolyn can figure out a way to fight back against the aggressive mutants, including both Megashark and multiple 6-headed sharks…along with several other iconic(?) Asylum inventions.

The Rating:

2.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I’m not sure I can argue this is good for even a B horror film, but it’s pretty smart for The Asylum to lean into the tongue-in-cheek, self-referential humor that’s worked so well for major franchises. Even as I recognize this film isn’t great, I get a massive kick from the resurrection of certain movie monsters; where else but in an Asylum film would it be possible to reference an Asylum film? The company knows its audience is mostly composed of weirdos who would only be flattered by comparisons to aliens.

Speaking of which, I do feel for Aaron as one of the few protagonists to die, and in such an unceremonious (but somewhat funny) way. It’s a little bit of a relief, as his entire existence serves to revere The Asylum as a god, though still feel he deserved better.

And even though this overall lacks coherence, has way too much going on, and just ceases to aim for any narrative follow-through well before the conclusion, I still enjoy its silliness. To be honest, there’s slightly more creativity involved than there strictly has to be; aliens 3-D printing the monsters was genuinely surprising. Don’t get your hopes up too much on this front; we’re not exactly talking Inception for intricate plot details.

We’ve seen better, but this isn’t even close to the worst.

Would my blog wife team up with this one to save humanity or fully embrace the Armageddon? Find out in her review!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Spring, or: Squid Game

At last, a thoroughly appropriate pick to round out this month’s spring theme. Maybe a little too on the nose, this week’s film is…Spring. And it’s also the last film of the month where we’ve finally gotten the hang of the theme thing. As usual, I have no regrets about our consistently creative interpretations. Which I’m pretty sure our film’s protagonists would support.

The Film:



Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

The Premise:

With no ties keeping him in the States, a young man travels to Italy and is intrigued by a woman with a twisted secret.

The Ramble:

Following the death of his mother and last living family member to cancer, Evan finds himself alone, unhappy personally and professionally. After a stranger picks a fight with him at the bar where he works, Evan seems on a perpetual downward spiral. Losing his job and worried the cops or the stranger will come after him, Evan decides to make use of his neglected passport and travel the world. And where do white people want to go if not Italy?

Meeting a couple of drunken Brits on his first night abroad, Evan impulsively joins them on their drive along the coast. Honestly, I got very sidetracked by my anxiety about Evan’s complete absence of a vacation plan at this point, but I powered through it. While in a small coastal town, Evan locks eyes with a gorgeous woman in a red dress and takes it as something of a sign when he encounters her again.

Working up the nerve to ask the woman, Louise, on a date, Evan is invited back to her place as she explains she doesn’t date. Evan’s too intrigued just to hook up and never see her again; when the Brits decide to move on, Evan hangs around, responding to a sign offering a room in exchange for farm work. Shockingly, the elderly farmer living alone in the Italian countryside doesn’t give off serial murderer vibes.

When Evan runs into Louise again, he asks one more time for a date, and the two end up spending the day together exploring a museum and enjoying the fresh air. Louise is a student of evolutionary genetics and knows a suspicious amount about fertility scenes in ancient art, but that doesn’t seem like a deal breaker…right?

After the two spend a night together, strange things happen to Louise’s appearance, and dead things begin turning up around the town. Catching Louise injecting herself with needles, Evan becomes concerned she’s using drugs…though the truth turns out to be much more troubling. As Evan falls for Louise, it’s clear she’s holding onto a major secret. How much longer can Evan continue to lead his Italian fantasy life?

The Rating:

4/5 Pink Panther Heads

Though I do think some of the earlier scenes involving Evan’s life in the States are unnecessary & mopey, the build-up to our twist works so well. There’s seriously so much of the film dedicated to establishing what a nice guy Evan is, and honestly he’s pretty bland and boring.

I’m impressed with how many genres this film pulls from and manages to blend them together fairly seamlessly. As is well established on the Collab, romantic films are never our top pick, but the romance works well here. While the twist is very much classic horror, its dramatic revelation doesn’t go in the direction I expected. There are some surprisingly funny observations (Louise and Evan dissecting classic art is a favorite for me) and quite a few more philosophical discussion than I’d associate with horror (or romance for that matter). We’re considering the breezy questions only; what does it mean to live, to die, to be successful?

Would my blog wife appreciate Italian sunsets with this one or make it into calamari? Read her review to find out!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Coven of Sisters, or: Black Basque Mass

Let’s not even pretend this film fits into the month’s springtime theme. We wanted a witch film, ok? And my guess is you’re in favor too, unless you happened across this blog by chance or used the search terms “three-penised monster” and ended up here (thanks, Spike Lee).

If you’re here on purpose, it seems unlikely you’re surprised or disappointed by any witch content that follows.

The Film:

Coven of Sisters


Pablo Agüero

The Premise:

After being detained under suspicion of witchcraft, a group of young women in 17th century Spain invent stories of the witches’ Sabbath to stall for time.

The Ramble:

If you’re looking for an opportunity to torture people with the full backing of church and state, there are worse places to be than 1600s Spain. Having (apparently) cleared the cities of heretics, the Inquisition is off to the rural Basque country. …Where no one is expecting them.

Upon arriving, lead inquisitor Rostegui is quick to identify suspected witches: a group of young women who engage in radical behavior like taking walks & occasionally going into the woods. There should be few obstacles to draw out confessions and then execute the witches, particularly as all of the local men are away at sea, expected back shortly after the full moon’s tides.

Initially attempting to laugh off the absurdity of the witchcraft accusations, the group plans to stall for time by making up stories about their occult practices. Faced with the reality of torture, drawing things out proves next to impossible. Meanwhile, local priest Padre Cristóbal does very little in the way of helping his parishioners, actively scheming with the inquisitors to avoid suspicion falling in his direction.

Ringleader Ana realizes a common thread among the interrogations: the witches’ Sabbath. Not knowing entirely what it is, Rostegui is fixated on getting details & even witnessing the dark ritual for himself. Taking advantage of his creepy obsession, Ana invents obscene elements like turning her friends into farm animals and forest dancing in secret (the worst kind of dancing).

Claiming credit for all of the witchy goings-on in order to save her friends, Ana promises to reenact the witches’ Sabbath on the night of the next full moon. Will her plan buy enough time to avoid a fate worse than the comfy chair?

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

This is by no means a bad film, though by far the least fun witch movie we’ve seen. There’s a clever bit of ambiguity at the film’s conclusion that offers some hope, but mostly this is relentlessly bleak.

I really enjoy the concept of those accused of witchcraft just full-on messing with the inquisitors. And, depending on your interpretation of the ending, faking witchcraft ultimately leading to the real thing. The line between reality & pretend is a very Shakespearean interest…along with basically every horror that starts with teens bringing out a Ouija board for laughs.

The artistry of the film is gorgeous too; there are quite a few scenes that draw inspiration from Baroque paintings, making it easy to feel absorbed by the film. I’m always ready to get lost in a period drama, and the ambience created by the staging, lighting, and small details in the scenes certainly helps.

Where this film is frustrating, however, is on its focus on men & patriarchy. Since the criticism is centered primarily on men, unfortunately most of the discussions are about all of the nonsense they want to talk about. As a result, the men also have more defined personalities and significantly more agency than the women. I do enjoy the battle of wills between Ana and Rostegui, but I remember very little about any of the other women, in part because of the film’s examination of the structures of power. The women do have some personality, but this is stripped away almost immediately upon their arrest & interrogation.

I could have done with a bit (a lot) more of the witchy schemes.

Would my blog wife take the fall for this one or turn it into a goat? Find out in her review!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Family Dinner, or: Filippin’ Out

*Spoilers follow*

This week’s spring brings us to the festive horror land of Easter. Surprisingly, this holiday hasn’t made much headway into the genre, despite the obvious rising from the dead Jesus. And this film’s take on enjoying a meal as a family; I mean, if you regularly eat the body of Christ to begin with, what’s the logical next step?

The Film:

Family Dinner


Peter Hengl

The Premise:

A teenager focused on losing weight visits her nutritionist aunt’s isolated home in the countryside for a memorable Easter celebration.

The Ramble:

It’s off to the Austrian countryside for the holidays! However, not in a breezy, golden fields in the Swiss alps, Sound of Music kind of way. Visiting her divorced aunt for Easter after many years, teenager Simi has a secret agenda: convince the once-popular celebrity chef & nutritionist to put Simi on the path to dramatic weight loss.

Following a miscommunication, it appears Simi will be leaving early on Good Friday, rather than on Easter Monday as she’d expected. Quite severely, her aunt Claudia insists that Easter is an extremely private holiday for the family. Surely there’s nothing suspicious going on here. *shrug*

Because you can never have just one weirdo alone in Austria, the household also includes Simi’s cousin, Filipp, a sullen and sickly teenager who manages to concentrate any remaining energy on being an asshole. Though there’s clearly an odd dynamic between mother and son, with Claudia cutting up his food, tucking him into bed, and monitoring his phone, it’s difficult to feel much sympathy. Filipp is awkward, rude, and constantly ridiculing Simi’s weight.

Meanwhile, Claudia’s partner Stefan is a fitness enthusiast frequently doing push-ups and walking around shirtless. Though he and Claudia are both fasting ahead of Easter, Stefan isn’t as keen on this, sneaking food every now and then. While out jogging, Simi encounters a pyre set up for a bonfire, which he casually explains is for Easter. And I did have to Google it, but this is apparently just a normal day of Easter festivities in Austria, even in non-horror scenarios.

Eventually, Claudia changes her mind and agrees to help Simi lose weight. The approach? Yeah, just don’t eat. At all. For five days, until breaking the fast on Easter. The fact that Simi proceeds to do this without once getting hangry is the least realistic part of the film.

Though it’s increasingly obvious aunt Claudia has some strange, pagan-adjacent beliefs, Simi is willing to overlook these if she can achieve her weight loss goals. Filipp acts more and more erratically, repeatedly running away and insisting that his mother is planning something awful for him. Simi ignores a lot of warning signs, which is kind of understandable when the alternative is listening to her horrible cousin.

As Easter approaches, what exactly will the special family observance entail?

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I enjoy the setup of this film, and the ending is great. Fittingly, absolutely everything is dull, ominous, and gray. However, there are so many moments that create more questions than the film is willing to answer–largely because it hasn’t filled in a lot of the details. There is very little we understand about Aunt Claudia’s pagan beliefs, and why they involve specifically eating her own child. Is it because Filipp is seen as soft and not worthy of participating in the ritual? Has the ritual happened before & he threatens to reveal the truth?

It’s also really unclear where Claudia’s beliefs come from; she appears to have just spontaneously committed herself to a pagan practice within the last few years. The implication seems to be that her dedication follows major disappointments: her divorce, the failure of her career to sustain. Not a great look from a feminism angle, particularly the divorced middle-aged woman losing touch with reality. I also 1000% do not get Claudia’s partner Stefan, who doesn’t seem to believe any of the things she does, but is willing to go with the flow to the point that he’s ok with the whole cannibalism of it all???

Not helping with matters–Simi herself is a bit boring as a protagonist. She never has the realization that starving yourself to lose weight is bullshit or has any kind of body positive or even body neutral acceptance. It’s frustrating. She is also in denial about so many red flags around her all because she wants to meet a weight loss goal with help from her aunt. In the end, Simi is surprisingly resourceful, but it takes a ton of acting clueless to get there.

Honestly, it’s really the pacing problems & lack of believable character motivations that make this one just ok. And one of the major twists is quite predictable, even from the title.

Would my blog wife tuck in to whatever this one is serving or go vegan permanently? Read her review to find out!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Do Revenge, or: Bearded Draggin’ You Down

Ah, spring. Sunshine, bright colors, the world coming back alive…for vengeance? Spring has felt like such a long time coming that it’s impossible not to highlight the season in April’s theme. Can we help it if our interpretation of the month veers into darkness immediately? Think of it this way: revenge schemes are all about getting organized & crossing things off the to-do list…just like spring cleaning…?

The Film:

Do Revenge


Jennifer Kaytin Robinson


When faced with a dramatic loss of social status, teens attending an expensive private school swap revenge schemes to pay back those who have wronged them.

The Ramble:

On the night of a party thrown in her honor, queen bee Drea is flying high. Following her crowning achievement as Teen Vogue’s “Teen of the Year,” her bff Tara has planned an elaborate party with Drea’s face featured on absolutely everything. Sure, there’s the occasional snide remark about Drea’s scholarship status at Rosehill, the fancy private school she attends, but she’s more than capable of outmaneuvering the haters.

But like any teen social scene, change is the only constant. After filming a sexy video for her boyfriend Max, Drea’s fortunes fall when it’s leaked. Despite his protestations that his phone was hacked, Drea is convinced Max intentionally shared the video, punching him in the face on school grounds. When all of this alienates her friends, puts her scholarship at risk, and sets back her dreams of Yale, Drea is determined to do one thing only: revenge.

Over the summer, Drea’s path collides fatefully with Eleanor, a wealthy but awkward & tomboyish girl at the tennis camp where Drea is working. When Eleanor tips off Drea that mean girl Erica is sharing the sex tape with everyone at tennis camp, Drea escalates things by planting drugs in her room. Eleanor eventually earns Drea’s trust by revealing that she’s transferring to Rosehill; her life has been miserable in her current school since her first girlfriend claimed that Eleanor tried to kiss her without consent. Does her ex, Carissa, happen to attend Rosehill? Why, yes–yes, she does.

When senior year begins, Max seems to be doing everything possible to infuriate Drea, from dating her former bestie Tara to founding an extremely performative cis male group of feminists. Putting the pieces together, Drea realizes she and Eleanor have a perfect opportunity to do each other’s revenge while skating under the radar.

The plan is simple: Drea, who is forced to do community service, will volunteer for the school’s garden. Carissa is, noted hippie and lead gardener, should be an easy target as she seems to be growing something mysterious in a greenhouse only she can access. Meanwhile, Eleanor will undergo a makeover and give off distant, alluring vibes to attract Max’s interest.

Unsurprisingly, things fail to go according to plan. Drea finds herself attracted to Carissa’s friend Russ, while Eleanor is interested in Max’s sister. With divided loyalties and hidden agendas, can a friendship born of so much scheming survive…and will vengeance be done?

The Rating:

4.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

While the twists aren’t exactly shocking–particularly if you’ve seen even a handful of ’90s and ’00s teen comedies–and things are wrapped up a bit too neatly in the end, this is still a delightful film to watch. The dynamic between our leads is phenomenal even if their friendship is a little (a lot) on the twisted side. Honestly, the message is exactly what I would’ve dug as a teen: what is friendship if not finding someone as disturbed and poorly socialized as you are?

Visually, this is gorgeous; it’s got that glossy, deceptively perfect sheen of many a teen comedy, which belies the ugly social climbing & backstabbing at the heart of a cinematic high school. The social commentary is genuinely funny, in particular some of Max’s seemingly sincere antics. I appreciated the many films that this one pays tribute to–most notably, the forever in my heart 10 Things I Hate About You.

Last time I left Riverdale, Camila Mendes was being criminally underused and I’m going to assume still happening. And as likeable as Maya Hawke is in Stranger Things, I only want to see her in roles with a dark edge from now on.

Any and all teen comedies like this one, please.

Would my blog wife make a little bearded dragon dress for this one or feed it drug-laced mushroom soup? Find out in her review!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Lady of the Manor, or: Things Went South

Put Melanie Lynskey in a silly comedy & we’re in. At least, mostly in. Halfway?

If we can fast-forward through all non-Lynskey scenes next time around, then we’re definitely in. Otherwise, bring on I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore 2 because (spoiler)…this week’s pick is not it.

The Film:

Lady of the Manor


Christian & Justin Long

The Premise:

When she gets a job as a tour guide in a historic manor, laid-back slacker Hannah begins receiving unsolicited advice from the ghost of a murdered Southern belle.

The Ramble:

Following an argument over the inheritance of her property, Southern belle Lady Wadsworth meets with an unfortunate accident in the mid-1800s. Surprise/not really a surprise, the obvious suspect in her not-so-accidental death is her husband. As a Southern gentleman, everyone basically takes him at his word that Lady Wadsworth tripped and fell because patriarchy/misogyny/sexism.

Years later, couch potato Hannah lounges about watching true crime until she’s reluctantly called to do her job. Her work? Delivering drugs on behalf of a startup-type company in Georgia. We’re talking weed & gummies here, but even so…I’m pretty sure Georgia is among the states unfriendly to recreational marijuana. A little strange then that Hannah doesn’t even attempt to text in code about the nature of her activities.

In a comedic(?) scene that’s just kind of uncomfortable & full of awkward jokes about underage sex, Hannah is busted by an undercover cop, charged with drug violations and solicitation of a minor. Though her boyfriend helps negotiate a plea deal for Hannah’s release, he breaks up with her, leaving her with no income and nowhere to go.

Enter conveniently timed bar sleaze Tanner Wadsworth, entitled Wadsworth descendant. After firing the previous tour guide of the manor, Tanner hires Hannah immediately. Of course, Hannah has zero interest in history; instead of remembering accurate details, she invents stories for her tour groups. This works surprisingly well until a history professor with a PhD from Harvard interrupts a tour, upset with the invented truths. Because this film can’t pick a genre, misunderstanding yields to a connection pretty lacking in chemistry.

Wasting her time with walking red flag Tanner, Hannah is interrupted one evening by the ghost of Lady Wadsworth. Not really clear why Lady W chooses this particular moment to appear except for comic effect. Also not really clear why she chooses to appear at all; you’d think she’d be motivated by revenge or seeing her will carried out as intended. Instead, she decides to haunt Hannah for…not being particularly ladylike by 19th-century standards. Rather conveniently, Lady W is not at all racist and has a Black friend to prove it. Btw, a Black “friend” who was her maid, and we never get into any discussion of whether or not she was an enslaved friend.

Anyway. Even though Max, the disgruntled history professor, studies history, Hannah consults with him on the occult. Convenient plot device is rather pointless as Lady W ultimately just tells Hannah what it will take for her to stop haunting the manor.

But as she gets to know Lady W and her story, will Hannah begin to seek out the truth behind her new friend’s demise?

The Rating:

2.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

Because of Melanie Lynskey’s involvement with this film, I cannot possibly justify a lower rating than that of Llamageddon. Our girl ML is as charming as ever. However, I will say that amount of enjoyment per dollar falls squarely in the llama’s court. The cast & production values are significantly better, but the level of script coherence for a greenlit film is infuriating. Worse–the humor almost never lands in a COMEDY movie.

For a film that’s supposed to be silly fun, I got bored. I couldn’t at all understand what the film was going for; the rom-com element didn’t work for me at all, the buddy comedy piece fell flat, and the history’s wrongs being set right theme wasn’t particularly well done. For real, we’re going to set a film in Civil War-era Georgia and just ignore slavery? I get that this was a comedy, but Lady W would’ve come back spouting way more racist nonsense than she did here. It’s odd to me as well that Hannah was the character who needed to swoop in and solve the mystery of Lady W’s death. She didn’t have any emotional connection to the murder, and things get uncomfortably white savior-y.

Also, genuine points of confusion: was Lady W somehow a member of the aristocracy? Because being rich and from the South does not magically mean you have a title. And, btw, one of the “skills” of being a lady according to Lady W is making bread…? I don’t believe a woman in her position would have ever set foot in the kitchen except to yell at people. And legitimately, THIS is how you’d choose to spend your ghostly afterlife???

I do appreciate that Melanie Lynskey apparently accepted this role for the prospective of lounging around and acting high for the entire film. There are worse motivations, honestly.

Would my blog wife knead bread dough with this one or exorcise its unholy presence? Read her review to find out!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Llamageddon, or: Spit Happens

Whatever your stereotypes about librarians are, please update them to include fans of alien llama horror comedies. This week’s film came back onto my radar courtesy of a library conference & at the suggestion of a fellow horror librarian. The horribly punny title doesn’t hurt either.

The Film:



Howie Dewin

The Premise:

An alien llama arrives on Earth, seemingly with the sole purpose of causing as much murder and destruction as possible.

The Ramble:

When an alien that physically resemble a llama lands on Earth, the unsuspecting locals of a small farm town are in grave danger. Though the alien looks relatively benign (minus the glowing red eyes), it has a number of destructive abilities and chooses violence every time.

Following the death of their grandparents, siblings Mel and Floyd agree to stay in the house until it sells…because convenient plot device? As party girl Mel pinky promises not to throw a party and trash the place, anxious Floyd frets over the animal attacks reported nearby.

Of course, Mel immediately throws a party, which is also an opportunity to wingman her own brother. Gross. Floyd’s relatable reaction to the party is “When can we make everyone go home?” Unfortunately, there are partygoers leaving, never to return…because they’ve encountered the alien llama. In addition to laser eyes, the llama can apparently rip out human hearts, as well as “fistfight” with its hooves. All of these deaths are done with great schlock, including sprays of blood and llama hooves attacking unconvincingly.

In B horror, it never pays to be the stoner–the very stoned guy who encounters the llama and then warns the others only receives mockery. The partygoers continue to enjoy the evening, moving proceedings into the hot tub. With a surprisingly good grasp of electricity for a space llama, the alien manages to take advantage of this situation when it discovers a stereo resting on the edge of the tub.

Dramatically(?) revealing yet another villainous power, the llama spits acid at Mel’s boyfriend Trent, transforming him into a llama/human hybrid. Fleeing into the woods for whatever reason, the survivors ditch Trent, who begins to lay mysterious eggs. After finally deciding to call for help, Mel and Floyd attempt to contact their father, who has been spending time with sex workers rather than attending the funeral. Can the siblings rely on their dad to save them from their greatest prob-llama yet?

The Rating:

2.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

It seems unfair to give this one anything above a 2.5 as it’s transparently low-budget with extremely silly effects and uncommitted acting. However, for whatever low bar it’s worth, this is far from the worst film we’ve watched on the blog. To be honest, we’ve watched professional productions 10x worse than this.

There are elements of a coherent plot largely overwhelmed by nonsense, so this never really overcomes the feeling of being a film concept cooked up while extremely high. One presumes. Some of the humor genuinely did make me laugh, in particular a rallying speech given by one of the characters just before being killed by llama laser eyes, as well as the llama “fistfights.” With some polishing, I think the plot could have actually made (some) sense, and the characters may have been more interesting. Really the only character that’s fun in any way is the llama, so it’s not particularly heartbreaking when the bodies start piling up.

Would my blog wife take this one to our leader or ‘paca her bags? Find out in her review!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Bones and All, or: Let’s Mullet over

I’m beginning to realize that artsy cannibalistic films are extremely my genre. Some of my favorite films on the Collab have been very heavy on the flesh-consuming and/or cheap zombie thrills. I’ve also long suspected I may be a cat, so I do relate to the urge to bite people. Another story for another day.

It can’t be surprising to reader(s?) of this blog that a cannibal/zombie plot could only be elevated by the addition of Timothée Chalamet. In the late ’80s with the pink mullet.

The Film:

Bones and All


Luca Guadagnino

The Premise:

A young woman who has zombie impulses travels across the country to meet her mother, encountering zombie friend and foe along the way.

The Ramble:

New in town Maren is a high school student seeking friendship but afraid to open up. As it turns out, this is probably a wise choice, as occasionally she has the uncontrollable impulse to consume human flesh. Sneaking out despite her father’s strict rules, Maren is so close to having a normal night at a party…until she goes full zombie mode.

Shortly after, Maren’s father leaves her on her own in a new town, feeling he has done all he can for her. With only the clue of her birth certificate, Maren is determined to track down her mother in smalltown Minnesota.

Making her way across the country, Maren encounters another zombie for the first time in her life. Unsettlingly, this man claims to be able to smell other zombies & teaches her to recognize the scent. The man, Sully, says he never kills, only eats the dying. As Sully has led Maren to the home of a dying woman, the two eat her flesh.

Though Sully offers Maren a place to stay, she feels compelled to continue her journey. After she is nearly caught shoplifting, a young man causes a distraction by picking a fight with a drunk man in the store. Sensing a fellow zombie, Maren catches up with him after he has killed and eaten the man. As her new acquaintance, Lee, steals the dead man’s truck, they drive on.

While continuing to travel, Maren and Lee encounter other zombies and learn about each other’s troubled pasts. Things seem to be going well until Maren feels compelled to feed, and Lee targets a sketchy carnival game operator. When it turns out their victim had a wife and child at home, Maren is extremely upset, blaming Lee for the horrific murder. And things only get worse when Maren finally meets her mother, and things do not go particularly well.

It seems a bit too convenient when Sully, from several states back, shows up right when Maren is on her own. With seemingly no one to trust, where will Maren go, and who will she turn to?

The Rating:

4.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

IDK if this film deserves such a high rating considering the lack of pacing & coherent plot, but I found this one absorbing. Based on the zombie element, this has almost an apocalyptic road movie feel. And even though my darling blog wife has heard me complain endlessly about horrible romantic plots, this one worked for me. The two leads have chemistry, but the romance isn’t the entire purpose of the film or of these characters’ lives. This film is moody AF, always taking the beauty and the grotesque to extremes in its scenes.

Even though the metaphorical elements of the film do feel overdone at a certain point, I do appreciate the film’s layers here. The clear connection is between the uncontrolled zombie impulse & addiction; both are presented as inherited traits that can be destructive and at times almost impossible to manage. There are also some parallels to sexuality & gender identity, as these are also traits people are born with and frequently stigmatized.

I will grant that your enjoyment of this film may hinge on your opinions of Timothée Chalamet’s pink mullet & overall hipster fever dream look. I feel the most connected to Gen Z when it comes to our opinions of Timothée Chalamet, honestly. My god, the charisma, the screen presence, the success in wearing a pair of impractically ripped jeans.

Would my blog wife murder a minor creep for this one or refuse to get her mane of hair all bloody? Read her review to find out!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Nanny, or: Siren Song

We’re kicking off March with…what else? Horror. The best kind of horror, as it’s unexpected mermaid horror. Not quite in the tradition of Killer Mermaid, however. Think elevated horror drawing on West African folklore, with plenty of commentary on the immigrant experience thrown in.

The Film:



Nikyatu Jusu

The Premise:

A young Senegalese woman works as a nanny for a wealthy family in NYC, ignoring some rather ominous signs as she saves for the airfare that will reunite her with her son.

The Ramble:

After leaving Senegal, Aisha arrives in New York City in search of work. Her options are limited as an undocumented immigrant, though her French skills and teaching experience are in demand for a job as a nanny. As Aisha raises Rose, the daughter of a wealthy couple, she keeps her goal in mind: to earn enough money to pay for her young son’s journey to join her.

Aisha doesn’t particularly get along with her employer, Amy, but manages to charm picky eater Rose with Senegalese cooking. When Amy’s husband Adam returns home after a long trip abroad, it becomes immediately clear that there are reasons he stays away. The marriage is extremely strained, not helped by Adam’s obvious affairs, including an interest in Aisha.

While Aisha increasingly stays late and even overnight to care for Rose, she begins to miss many of the daily calls from her son. At the same time, she begins seeing the building doorman, Malik, who has a son close in age to hers.

Unfortunately, Aisha also begins to experience disturbingly ominous visions, including Anansi the spider’s legs, the siren Mami Wata, and waves of water drowning her. Malik’s mother warns Aisha not to ignore these, as these symbols of survival are likely intended to guide her. Pointedly, she asks Aisha, “How do you use your rage?”

Aisha appears to take this lesson to heart in her next interaction with Amy, who has not paid Aisha for weeks of overtime. During this period, Aisha has been buying or making food for Rose with her own money–which upsets Amy because the food must be too spicy for her daughter. Even after this confrontation, Amy asks Aisha to stay over the next evening to care for Rose.

Shortly after, Aisha finally has the money to bring her cousin and son to the States. But like so much of Aisha’s experiences as an immigrant, the journey involves some dark turns.

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

Wow, this is a bleak story (spoiler/not really a spoiler). It’s powerful, yet extremely frustrating at times. There are several flashbacks that are unclear, and it takes time watching these scenes to understand where we are in the story…but in a way that’s confusing & doesn’t necessarily feel intentional. There are almost two distinct films here, as the majority of the film is a realistic story of living as an undocumented immigrant, and is such a slow burn on the horror front as to not fall into the genre well. The last third of the film draws much more on horror elements, though I would have probably been annoyed if I’d expected full-on horror here.

The feeling of being haunted is effective, and Aisha herself seems rather ghost-like until the end. It’s irritating to see Aisha finally stand up for herself and use her rage only to accomplish frustratingly little. The conclusion of the film is jarring too, as we go through tragedy after tragedy only to resolve things on a hopeful note. With so many feelings to process as the film wraps up, the ending feels somewhat hollow.

Another critique: the only fully realized character is Aisha, with the supporting characters all seeming rather flat. I like Malik as a sort of character outline, but he comes across as one-dimensional, so easy-going and caring that he seems unreal.

I did really enjoy the concept, however–in particular the West African traditions both guiding and terrifying Aisha. The last chunk of the film was well done, and enough to bump things up to a 3.5 on the PPH scale.

Would my blog wife make jollof rice for this one or let a spider crawl into its mouth while sleeping? Find out in her review!